Posts tagged ‘Keratin’

Why do birds molt?

Molting Bird

Feathers wear out, as clothes do, and need to be replaced. The process is called “molting.”  Birds molt their feathers at least once a year, in late summer or early fall.  Feathers are made from a substance called “keratin.”  It is basically the same material your hair is made of. 

In molting, old worn feathers drop out of their sockets in a bird’s skin and new ones grow in their place.  Some birds grow bright, new feathers for the nesting season. 

These birds molt twice a year.  Most birds molt just a few feathers at a time, so they are able to fly during molting periods.Dick Rogers

What are a cow’s horns made of?

Cow’s Horn

A cow’s horns are made up mostly of special growth of touch skin material called “keratin.”  The nails on your fingers and toes are made of this materials.  So are the claws and hooves of animals.  The horns keep growing throughout the animal’s life.

Since cattle can use their horns as weapons, they are sometimes dehorned to make them safer for cattlemen to handle.  The cattle are also less likely to injure each other.  Some breeds do not grow horns.  Cattle born without horns, or whose horns are removed, and called “polled” cattle. – Dick Rogers